tv CNN Tonight With Don Lemon CNN February 23, 2017 12:00am-1:01am PST
[ chanting ]. >> more rowdy town halls, republican lawmakers pressured to do more in washington. >> and the debate within. democrats grapple with the way forward after a bruising 2016 campaign. plus, a major space discovery. scientists say they have found a new earth-sized exo planet that could support life. hello and welcome to our viewers in the united states and all around the world, i'm rosemary church. >> and you're watching cnn newsroom.
and i'm siril van yay. and a u.s. presidential election has been in the rearview mirror for nearly four months, but the country remains sharply divided and in town hall meetings across america, people are letting their elected representatives know that they are furious. republican lawmakers are facing tough questions on immigration, the trump administration's ties to russia, and the planned repeal of the affordable care act. >> three members of my family, including me, that would be damned -- damned -- and homeless if it were not for aca. [ cheers and applause ] i am angry! i am a constituent, you work for us! my husband and dementia, alzheimer's, plus multiple other things, and you want to stand there with him and expect us to
be calm, cool, and collected. what kind of insurance do you have? >> former democratic presidential candidate hillary clinton has no sympathy for the republicans. she tweeted this, if you can't stand the heat, get out of the congress. but her party is coping with its own challenges. the democratic national committee is looking for a new leader and the battle is on to define the party's identity. >> donald trump, as deceptive as he was, did say he was for jobs, trade, infrastructure, and protecting social security. that's our message. that's what we do. that's why he beat all those other republicans, because he sent a democratic message. we do have to lead with our values. i encourage democrats to stand for social security, stand for good jobs, stand for infrastructure investment and
don't back off it. >> and the democratic party needs to take the fight to donald trump. when we lead with our values, when we lead with our conviction, that's how we succeed, and i've lost my voice going all over the country. and what i'm saying to people is, my voice may be crackly now, but when we take over by implementing this 50-state strategy, and making sure that democrats have a voice, that is how we return the power to the people. >> all right. joining us now from l.a., our republican consultant, john thomas, and democratic strategist dave jacobson. thank you, gentlemen, for being with us. now, we are seeing a lot of anger, even rage at times, at these republican town hall meetings around the country, with constituents demanding gop lawmakers investigate president trump's ties to russia. they're also concerned about the president's conflict of interest, with his business ties and about what might happen to
obamacare and immigration. john thomas, have you ever witnessed constituents hold legislators' feet to the fire like this, and is it enough for the trump administration to suggest these are paid professionals instead of concerned voters? >> two good questions. answer to number one is, yes, we saw it in the tea party. but let's not forget while a room can be filled with 200 or 300 people, it's not too hard to do, given the fact that the left hates donald trump with a level of vitriol we haven't seen. let's not forget about the people in wisconsin, michigan, and florida, that voted for donald trump and his agenda, much of which these protesters are protesting about. as it relates to, are these fake protesters, are they purchased? i'm sure most of them are not purchased. but the organizers mobilizing them are a paid apparatus.
>> david jacobson, do you buy that? >> not necessarily. i think some institutional players may be trying to capitalize on this. you may see planned parenthood or move on.org that are channeling their members and constituents and supporters into these pre-existing grass-roots movements. but i think largely, there's just so much electricity on the ground. there's a ground swell of support. and this is largely organic, independent of the party apparatus. i think it's a testament to the anger and anxiety on the ground, and i think it's emblematic of the increasingly polarization that we're seeing across the country, fueled by the donald trump chaotic presidency. >> gentlemen, i wanted to address the debate for the leadership of the democratic party that we saw on cnn a few hours ago. what we saw was a democratic party trying to find its groove as an opposition voice to donald trump. i want to play sound from keith ellison who is believed to be one of the main contenders in
this race. >> donald trump has already done a number of things which legitimately raise the question of impeachment. i mean, on day one -- [ applause ] -- on day one, he was in violation of the emol yumts clause. it says, as a power, you can't get payment from a foreign power. the day people checked into his hotel who were foreign dignitaries, he was in violation of that law. so i think we need to begin investigations to not go after donald trump, but to protect our constitution and the president of the cy of the united states, to make sure nobody can monetize the presidency and make profit off it for their own gain. >> so, dave, you've got a person who was running for the leadership of the democratic party, one of the first things he says, going for the jugular there, talking about impeachment. is this, in your opinion, the
winning strategy for the democrats, go for the jugular against trump? >> i think at a certain level, you've got to go against donald trump. i think there's credence to what he said. largely, republicans years ago, back in the '90s, impeached president bill clinton because he was unfaithful to his wife. now we have a president who potentially was unfaithful to his country. during the campaign in july, i believe, he asked the russians to hack into hillary clinton's e-mails, he endorsed julian assange's wikileaks, which unveiled the beihacking by the russians at the dnc. now you have independent investigations going on in congress looking into this, but there's a potential game-changer and bombshell there that could underscore the continued relationship that donald trump has had throughout the course of the presidential campaign and now into his presidency. independent of attacking the president, i think one thing we saw tonight was a celebration of ideas. i think it was a healthy conversation. and i think a lot of the
democrats mentioned key sissues that we need to be talking about, particularly jobs and the economy. >> john, did you feel the democratic party was finding its feet? >> i think the democratic party we saw tonight, here are a couple of my take-aways. they're in crisis. they basically, between the top two choices you have an allegedly anti-semitic congressman in ellison and a pro tpp that's trying to backtrack as fast as he can in perez. the democratic party tonight appeared to me to be struggling with the warring far left of the party, which is congressman ellis, versus perez. it's like falling in love or falling in like. it appears to be that the base wants to go even further to the left, which i think will spell disaster for them in the mid terms and in four years. >> want to turn to the issue of scott pruitt now, president
trump's head of the environmental protection agency. he hasn't had a good relationship with his own agency. we already know that. but now we're learning that his agenda was written by lobbyists for big energy, oil and gas companies. when he was oklahoma's attorney general, more than 7,500 pages of e-mails from the oklahoma attorney general's office show examples of this. john thomas, this is a real concern, isn't it? when you have a situation like this, what do you say? because people are asking, if you've got someone like that, heading up that agency, that's supposed to be regulating the energy industry, what's going to happen next? >> well, it's not unusual at all for democrats or republicans to be educated by special interests. so the fact that he was in oklahoma, that's not unusual. it happens all the time. especially when you take a new office, you need an education. you hear from both sides. so that's not unusual.
but he was brought in to essentially neuter the epa. that's why you're seeing so much clash, and his principles that he articulated to president trump, that's why he was selected for that cabinet post. not because he received some memos from some lobbyists years ago. >> dave, your response to that? >> this is a guy whose political campaigns have been bank rolled by big oil, wall street, and other energy entities. i think it's emblematic of the fact that you have guy who is a climate-change denier, who wants to roll back all the advances the obama administration made over the last eight years. the world looks to the united states when it comes to renewable energy and tackling climate change. i think this poses a real significant danger for the u.s. and for the world, as a whole, when you have somebody who totally doesn't believe in climate change. you've got a president who called it a hoax. i think this poses a threat for us, particularly at a time when
you see increasingly powerful hurricanes, this atmosphere river unprecedented in california, with enormous rain storms, more tornadoes. i mean, this is at a time, and by the way, let's go back to oklahoma, where the new epa director is from, because of all the fracking that they've got. they've got unprecedented earthquakes that are happening all across that state. so i think it poses a real threat to our country and to the globe. >> and dave's right. a storm may be coming, a storm of new jobs, because finally businesses can invest capital and create jobs. >> good spin. [ laughter ] >> nice one. gentlemen, let's look at the polls, shows only 38% of voters approve of donald trump's job performance, down from 42% earlier this month. my problem with polls and a lot of people have the same problem, you never know which one signals a lasting trend and which will be forgotten the next day. should mr. trump be worried about this number or not? >> i don't think so at this point. first of all, we're far away from the midterm elections.
so it's too far. secondly, if you dig into the numbers, trump's base is still with him. and that's much of what we saw in the primary presidential election and the general, trump's base is what got him across the finish line. i think right now, he needs to focus on his agenda, focus on fixing the economy and the numbers will heal themselves. >> dave, quick thought on that? >> i don't think it's just this poll, necessarily. this is reflective of a larger trend we're seeing with a number of polls that have been released over the last 30 days since trump was elected president. i think one thing this really underscores is that you've got an extraordinarily polarizing and divisive president, which is unprecedented at such an early stage of a presidency. took barack obama 900 days to have the majority of the country disapproving of his job performance. took george w. bush 1,200 day. this president, eight days into office, with the majority of the
company disapproving of the job he's doing as commander in chief. >> dave and john, thanks so much. >> thank you. well, top trump administration officials are in mexico right now, trying to get relations with the u.s. back on track. u.s. secretary of state rex tillerson and homeland security secretary john kelly will sit down soon with president enrique pena nieto and other officials. trade, immigration, border security, and of course the wall are causing friction between washington and mexico city. on wednesday, mexico's foreign minister signalled his country will not go along with the trump administration. >> translator: i want to make it clear in the most emphatic way, that the mexican government and the mexican people do not have to accept measures that, in a unilateral way, one government wants to immopose on another. we will not accept that because we don't have to, and it's not in our best interest. >> meanwhile, just north of the border, u.s. house speaker paul
ryan and other lawmakers met with border agents in texas and toured the area along the rio grande. the white house is sending mix messages to the eu. chief strategist steve bannon told the german ambassador to the u.s. the eu was a flawed institution, and he would prefer to negotiate with european nations individually. that's in direct contradiction to the assurances vice president mike pence gave eu leaders in brussels a week later. >> for more on that, atika shubert joins us live from berlin. how do you think this will go down in europe? >> reporter: well, i think they've been dealing with the mixed messages, split personality administration for a while now. so it really has become the new normal for a lot of policy-makers here. but it's still concerning. i think the important thing here is that this meeting between the
german ambassador and steve bannon, happened in the week before vice president pence and others in the administration came here on the european tour. now that meeting was described by german diplomatic sources as being combative. however, trump administration officials said it was really more of a quick meeting, just a brief hello. and so the actual substance of the meeting we don't know. the foreign ministry won't comment on that, saying it's confidential. but clearly, it shows the concern that german officials have about what the trump administration's policy will be towards the eu. now, vice president pence, when he came here, did quite a bit of work to try and reassure european allies that the u.s. is still committed to the european union. but clearly when they get messages like they've heard from steve bannon, and not just steve bannon. i should point out, for example, the top trade official in the
united states has said he would prefer to deal with european nations bilaterally. the top pick for ambassador to the eu, for example, has said that he doesn't, himself really support the eu in principle. so it's all very mixed messages and confusing for policy makers. and it's precisely why the ambassador and other emissaries have gone to administration officials to try and better understand what the administration is thinking. >> all right, atika shubert, thank you very much. just ahead, flood waters in northern california are receding, but residents are being warned to stay out of their neighborhoods for now. we will explain when we come back. today, unlimited gets the network it deserves. verizon. (mic thuds) uh, sorry. it's unlimited without compromising reliability, on the largest, most advanced 4g lte network in america. (thud) uh... sorry, last thing.
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welcome back, everyone. germany's foreign minister is urging both sides to honor the ceasefire in eastern ukraine. but he and a monitoring group both say the truce is not holding. >> ukrainian forces and russian-backed rebels have been fighting since 2014. both sides agreed to stop fighting and withdraw heavy weapons as of monday, but the
monitoring group says hundreds of violations have been recorded since that time. and this ceasefire is a renewed attempt to enforce the minsk peace protocol. that framework, however, has repeatedly failed since it was partially implemented two years ago. >> iraq says its security forces have stormed mosul's airport and a nearby camp held bye isis. the military says a massive offensive is under way to secure the airport. iraq is battling to take control of the western half of the city. they've already driven isis out of the eastern half on the other side of the tigris river. meanwhile, we're getting new details about a suicide bomber who carried out an attack south of mosul on monday. >> evidence shows he was born in the united kingdom. cnn's fred pleitgen has a look at the bomber's path to jihad. >> reporter: isis media affiliates identified a man who
blew himself up south of mosul as abu zacheryia albrittany. they say he was british. the statement from the isis media affiliate says, may god accept his deed. he was one of the suicide bombers in a village south of mosul. a cnn village here in the united kingdom identifies him as ronald fiddler from manchester, who changed his name to jamal udean al har eve after con ferting to islam. it's believed he was at guantanamo for two years, he complained to the european committee saying he was mistreetded. and the british government under tony blair managed to secure his release. apparently compensation was paid to him. it's not clear to us how much. there's figures floating around british media saying it could have been around 1 million
pounds that was paid. we have not been able to independently confirm that number, but it does appear as though it was in 2014, he then apparently went to syria. his family saying that they tried to go to syria as well, to try and convince him to come back. that, of course, didn't work. now isis is saying that it was this man who conducted this suicide bombing operation south of mosul. fred pleitgen, cnn, london. in northern california, thousands of people are being told not to return to their homes because of contaminated floodwaters in their neighborhood. the situation is so unusual, that evacuation orders include areas that might only flood once every 100 years. >> meteorologist derek van dam join joins us with the details. what can you tell us? >> well, cyril, rosy, put yourself in this position, the position of these homeowners who have floodwaters rising to your car windows. you can imagine the sewers and
the contaminated water, just because of the backup of the rainwater that is accumulated across this particular region. it has been extensive, and the flash flood watches and warnings are still in effect, particularly just outside of the san francisco region, new year the sacramento valley. we've been closely monitoring many of the cities along the west coast. storm after storm continues to impact their region. check this out. sacramento has had over 18 inches of rain to date. that is 298% of average to date. seattle, los angeles, similar amounts in terms of how much rain they've seen, and how that compares to average for this time of year. but just to put this into a different perspective, let's look at san francisco, for instance. they've already received over 16 1/2 inches of rainfall, and on a normal year, we're talking about 365 days, they receive 20
inches. so 80% of rainfall in 55 days, the first month and a half of 2017. so unprecedented amounts of precipitation going on with these storm systems coming through. the good news is, we have a brief break in the atmosphere. starting to turn off the faucet temp airily. waiting in the wings, another storm system setting up for the weekend. bringing rainfall for the northwest, into california, and will likely be breaking some records. anyone checking out the academy awards this weekend in los angeles, the red carpet will be on the wet side as well. >> we'll be there. derek, thank you very much. police have arrested at least ten people at the main protest site for the dakota access pipeline. protesters were told to leave, but 50 people refused to go. authorities closed off the camp to head off the danger from seasonal flooding.
>> from tents were frozen to the ground and can't be moved. completion of the oil pipeline stalled under president obama, but president trump revived the project. >> we'll take a short break. when we come back on cnn newsroom, cnn hosts a fiery debate over who is best to head the democratic party after bruising defeat in the 2016 election. hear what some of the candidates have to say. plus, we'll hear from the transgender teen at the center of the bathroom debate after u.s. president trump rolls back guidelines protecting him. cerbe.
our viewers here in the united states and all around the world. i'm rosemary church. >> and i'm cyril vanier. your headlines this hour. republicans lawmakers are facing angry constituents at town hall meetings across the country. people are asking about health care, education, the environment, and washington's relationship with russia. at some meetings, the crowds have shouted down their representatives. two senior u.s. officials are in mexico to try to patch up strained relations. in a few hours, u.s. secretary of state rex tillerson and homeland security secretary john kelly will sit down with mexico's pet and othresident an officials to discuss the border and trade. nasa says these are the most promising exo-planets so far in the search for other life. three of them could have water on their surface.
and they're only 235 trillion miles, about 395 trillion kilometers. >> nothing really. well, democrats will meet here in atlanta this weekend to choose the next leader of the u.s. democratic national committee. just eight hours ago, candidates took part in a debate on cnn and spoke candidly about the uphill battle democrats face. >> the dnc has never allowed outsiders or brand-new people to rise through the ranks. there's always been an insider game. and it's been that way for a very, very long time. that is where the lack of trust has come into play. because not only was bernie sanders snubbed, not only did it look like hillary clinton had muscled her way into it, then the supporters were denied a chance to speak at the convention and that was the final straw. if people don't have an equitable voice, people are not going to trust the system. >> you can't allow this to devolve into factional struggle. of course there were problems
with 2016, bnobody could say thy weren't. but i don't know why we as a party would like to live through it again. we have to look forward, not back. the wolf is through the gates and eating our sheep right now. the idea that it's going to be a struggle between the bernie wing -- we have to take it to the republicans who are on top of the ticket all the way down. >> the reality is that the world has moved to a place where the democratic party is no longer keeping up with it. there are more independents than there are registered party people and the independents want a place to play in the primary system. so you have a system that's been in place as sam said, that's no longer serving the people in our country. >> i think we have to make sure that in the future, every person who wants to vote for a democrat must feel that it was fair, open, and accessible and
transparent. that is a mission, but i'm telling you, the real problem is ahead of us. people are organizing in the street right now. i believe i'm the unity candidate in this race, because i supported both bernie sanders and hillary clinton, and i believe i can pull the people together, so that we can come together as a party and we can win elections so that we don't ever have to go through this thing anymore. >> congressman keith ellison there with other democrats looking for a way forward after defeats up and down the 2016 ballot. >> now a reporter from politico joins us live from london. sylvio, when you watched the debate, did you feel the democratic party was ready to turn the corner and become effective opposition to donald trump or not? >> well, what i could tell from the debate, the candidates are still quite divided, although they're all trying to convey this message that the democratic party has to focus on making the procedure more transparent, bringing back the working class,
attracting millenials. the point is, it wasn't clear how the candidates are planning to go about this, and if they have a clear strategy. so a lot of division still lingering within the democratic party. >> i want to turn now to the town hall meetings taking place across america where constituents are angry, even enrane enraged at times, about president trump's connections to russia, his plans for immigration and the affordable care act. here's an exchange on that very topic. let's just listen. >> here's another question related to -- how will you protect our citizens -- [ shouting ]. >> how will you -- let me ask a question. let me ask a question. would you rather hear that man yell or me answer the question? if you'd rather hear this young man yell, i'll let him yell, but if you want me to try and answer your questions, i'll attempt to
answer your questions. >> well, the trump administration says these people are paid to protest and don't really represent real voters. how's that response likely to be received across the country at future town halls like this? >> well, i mean, it really depends on how these activists are going to carry forward their protests and how the republicans around the country are going to respond. we've seen a lot of embarrassment at these town halls, and of course president trump has dismissed these town halls. he tweeted that they were sad and made up by activists. but really, if those protests start growing and the sentiment of rebellion continues to spread, it's going to be really hard to dismiss them as sad and made up by activists. >> sylvia, we have two things happening, town halls where republicans are being berated, we had the debate we discussed a second ago for the leadership of the democratic party. if you look at those two things in conjunction, how do the
democrats harness that anger that we just saw and turn that into votes for them? >> well, that's the whole point. because if you look back at the 2016 election, hillary clinton wasn't able to harness that anger at all. and this is very similar to what was happening last year, when the common people, main street, wasn't heard by the democratic party. so now it's how they will be able to hear out these people and take on this sentiment of unease with trump's policies. >> and just going back to all of the anger that we saw there at these town hall meetings, the trump administration trying to say that a lot of this is driven by activists as we discussed, but we're not talking about a room full of 200 people in one city. we're talking about these town hall meetings right across america. this sentiment is moving
forward. at what point do you think, though, because most of these people are democrats, at what point do you think we'll see trump voters saying, this isn't going in the direction we want either? >> well, it's still quite early. i mean, he's been in office for just a month now, but his popularity has dropped to 38%. so of course this is indicating that something is changing. and of course this travel ban, you know, all the discussion with mexico and building a wall and deporting people and possibly separating families is something that isn't helping trump. and of course his supporters as well, just like the democrats, are going to have to really think about what this means and, you know, what this will mean going forward. but of course midterm elections are still very far away. so it's really a process that is still evolving and we're going to have to closely watch it. >> sylvia borely, thank you very much. we appreciate your time.
>> thank you. well, the trump administration is rolling back federal protection for transgender students. the obama era guidelines required public schools to allow children to use the bathroom which corresponded to their gender identities. >> now the announcement sparked protests in support of transgender rights outside the white house. the transgender student at the center of the bathroom debate was there. >> we will not be silenced. and we will stand with and protect transyouth. no matter what happens, no one, not even the government can defeat a community so full of life, color, diversity, and most importantly, love. >> the trump administration has not offered new guidance, but says the policy should be decided by states and not by the federal government. >> we'll take a very short break here, but still to come, president trump is preparing to roll out his new travel restrictions, but one family got into the u.s. just in time for
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travel ban is expected early to mid next week. but now the ban on visitors from seven muslim majority countries, including iraq, has been suspended. >> even so the obstacles to getting a visa in iraq can be monumental. right now an update on one family's struggle to be together again. chief medical correspondent dr. sanjay gupta reports. >> reporter: nearly four months, three visa rejections and now, more than a full day of travel. they arrive in boston from northern iraq, to finally reunite with their 2-year-old son. i first met them a few ago, stranded and being cared for by a compassionate stranger.
tonight they're waiting for mom and dad at a nearby hotel. >> i'm excited because he's going to see his parents, but at the same time, sad because i won't have him. he's been the center of my life over the last three and a half months. >> this is what their last precious moments together looked like. when adlay agreed to care for him, she had no idea if this day would ever come. the young parents are reduced to tears, overcome with emotion at seeing their son again. this isn't a video chat, they can touch him, hug him, kiss him. >> translator: thank god we're all together again. it's really hard to stay away from your child when they're healthy, let alone, he was burned. >> it's gotten a bit surreal, really, because i didn't know what to expect. >> sally becker runs road to peace, the british charity that brought him to the united states for medical care after he was
burned in a fire at a refugee camp. >> i was afraid he might reject his mum, because i was told some children do and it's been a long time. but he completely accepted them and it's as if they've never been away now. >> reporter: but a lot has changed since they've been separated. flosa gave birth to another baby boy the day after the u.s. election. they decided to name him trump in exchange for the compassion provided them by an american hospital. brothers, from other sides of the world, meeting for the first time, under extraordinary circumstances. >> translator: as long as his surgeries are done and he gains his health back, we don't want anything else in life. >> reporter: shriners hospital say he will need multiple operations over the course of a year, to improve the function of his face. they're going to focus on the scarring around his eyes and begin to reconstruct his nose.
also here's an important point, as soon as his treatment is complete, dad insists the family plans to head straight back to iraq. >> translator: we don't know anyone here, don't speak the language, we are like blind and deaf people here. we want to go back and live among our own people. >> reporter: but not before dilly has left an indelible mark on everyone he meets. >> you know, he just -- he really has made me a better person. it's been the most meaningful thing of my life that i've done. >> success, i can sum up with one word and that's dilly. because you only have to look at him, so happy to be back with his mum and dad and his baby brother. this little boy, he's going to be fine. >> you can see there, a good ending for him and his family. he's not out of the woods yet. probably another year's worth of operations to correct all the deformities to his face. but i should point out that according to road to peace
alone, there's nearly a hundred kids in his shoes who are waiting for some type of care and it's unclear what will happen to them as things stand now. >> amazing story there for that young little boy. well, nasa makes one giant leap in the search for life on other planets. the discovery that has scientists so excited, that's next on cnn newsroom. ed gets the network it deserves. verizon. (mic thuds) uh, sorry. it's unlimited without compromising reliability, on the largest, most advanced 4g lte network in america. (thud) uh... sorry, last thing. it's just $45 per line. forty. five. (cheering and applause) and that is all the microphones that i have. (vo) unlimited on verizon. 4 lines, just $45 per line.
welcome back, everyone. this one's pretty amazing. scientists say they have found the best place to look for life on other planets. >> yeah, and it's not just one planet they've discovered. it's seven. >> you'll see all seven planets. >> reporter: it's a jump to light speed in the search for signs of life outside our solar system. nasa says it's found at least seven earth-size planets orbiting a dwarf star 40 light years away. >> this is the first time that so many planets are found around the same star. >> reporter: astronomers have named it the trappist one
system. they say all of these exo-planets could have liquid water on their planets, the key to potentially supporting life. but scientists say three are in the habitable zone, meaning conditions there are best for life like that on earth. >> we've made a giant accelerated leap forward in the search for habitable worlds and life on other worlds. >> finding a second earth is not just a matter of if but when. >> reporter: nasa says all of the planets in trappist 1 are likely to be rocky and more observation is needed to learn if they have water underground or on the surface. now the problem is getting there. if we could travel at the speed of light, it would take 40 years to reach the trappist system. while it will likely take years of study, researchers say this may be the best opportunity yet to answer the question, are we
alone? >> are we, indeed? and for more on this, tom kerrs, astronomer, joibs us from london. thanks so much for being with us to talk more about this exciting find, seven newly discovered earth-size planets, orbiting the same star some 40 light years away. what could this mean ultimately, and just how significant is it, as we do try to answer that elusive question of whether we're alone? >> i think when we look back in the future at how we strove to answer this question, this will be seen as one of the major stepping stones. it's an incredibly exciting discovery. what we see here are numerous planets orbiting a small star not far away. many of the planets we believe are rocky, in fact, perhaps all of them are. further study is required just to constrain that, to pin that down. but for the time being, this is giving us a lot of new information about where we're likely to find these sorts of planets. this red dwarf star is the most common type of star in the
galaxy, that raises hopes that planets like this may be far more common in our galaxy than previously thought. and we're much closer now to actually being able to analyze these very small planets in the local part of our galaxy and really make a detailed, some detailed guess work or speculation as to what the conditions, the climates of these worlds might be like. and now this system presents seven opportunities to study small planets orbiting close to their parents' star. and as your report says, three of them are in a habitable zone. these three worlds represent a special opportunity perhaps to find evidence of liquid water on the surface or in the atmosphere, and because these planets are relatively close to us and because they transit their star, they're ideal candidates for close study. >> yeah, as you say, three of these seven planets are in what they call the goldilocks zone, and could potentially support life, but would it be any life form that we're familiar with?
how possible is that? >> we always have to be skeptical about the question of life. one thing to bear in mind with planets like this, because they're very close to their star and they have orbits, in particular these three that we're most interested in, their orbits fall within one to two weeks. so imagine a year lasting no more than a fortnight. this can produce all sorts of strange conditions that we don't really understand from experience in our own solar system. the planets can become locked, which means one side faces the star and the other faces away. and that's a real issue for us, because it means that heat is not distributed around the planet atmosphere. but if we were speculating and suggesting there may be life forms in worlds like this, perhaps they would be marine life forms. when you're close to the star, it stands to reason you have a better chance of surviving under water than perhaps on the land. so we might be thinking about the sorts of simple life forms that started here on earth billions of years ago, all of
which were, we believe, in the sea. and those are the sorts of extraterrestrial life forms that we should be looking for signatures of, marine life forms. >> given these newly discovered planets are some 40 light years away, how do we find out more about whether there is indeed water on their surfaces, and possibly life, whatever form of life that is? are we just talking about using telescopes here? >> yeah, it's exciting to think we can get a probe to pluto in nine and a half years, but to get a probe to these planets, would take 800,000 years. so now we're looking at a fleet of telescopes, having their attention turned to this system, to try and analyze what the atmospheres of these worlds are like. because they orbit in such short periods, we can collect data quickly about the planets and then start to look at the
different elements in the atmosphere, to figure out what the composition and heat distribution of the atmosphere might be like and that will help us to pin down what these worlds are like, how they differ from worlds in our own solar system and how they differ from each other, which helps us how to find other candidate worlds in our galaxy. now that we've seen a solar system orbiting a star of this nature, stars like this are going to become a much hotter topic in the search for more worlds. so while we might not find life in this system, it will help us in our leap for other systems. >> thanks so much for joining us. and thanks for watching cnn newsroom. "early start" is next for our viewers in the united states. >> and for everyone else, stay tuned. we leave you in the competent hands of max foster. take care. >> have a great day. amily came . i did my ancestrydna.
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